A provision of a Republican bill presented as HMO reform would actually eviscerate state-based HMO liability bills, such as the one passed in Texas in 1997.
Congressman John Boehner’s HR 2089 would prevent states from passing laws that provide HMO patients with damages when the company delays or denies medically-necessary care. 23 states are considering such HMO liability legislation, modeled after Texas. In California, bills with the provision have already passed both houses of the legislature.
“This phony GOP reform is an effort to prevent states from affording patients with private industry coverage the same right to sue an HMO for damages as public employees now have,” said Jamie Court, director of FTCR’s Consumers For Quality Care project. “The public must not be fooled by Republican measures masquerading as reform that actually turn back the clock on patient rights. Is this the party of Lincoln or the party of Aetna?”
Other measures by Boehner also worsen the patient’s lot by claiming to provide disclosure, but not requiring disclosure of financial incentives paid to physicians to limit treatment (HR 2046) and claiming to establish a prudent layperson standard for emergency room treatment payment, but letting an HMO define when and if it will pay for emergency room treatment in its contracts with patients (HR 2045).